A senior German state politician on Saturday warned that "the second coronavirus wave is already here."
Michael Kretschmer, premier of the eastern German state of Saxony, told Saturday's edition of the Rheinische Post newspaper: "It is already taking place every day. We have new clusters of infection every day which could become very high numbers."
The politician from the center-right CDU party said that Germany's federal system, which devolves health decisions to the 16 states, has allowed the country to respond effectively to the situation.
"Coronavirus is the best proof that this country has grown together," he added.
Uptick in daily cases
Kretschmer's comments come a day after the government's infectious disease institute, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) noted a significant rise in daily new infections, from around 500 to over 800 at one point last week.
"This development is very worrying and will continue to be monitored very closely by the RKI," a spokeswoman told DPA news agency on Friday evening.
"A further exacerbation of the situation must be avoided," she added.
Germany's health authorities reported 781 new infections in the 24 hours to midnight Friday, according to RKI. On Thursday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases was 815.
Overall, at least 204,964 people in Germany have caught coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, the RKI said on Saturday morning. At least 9,118 people have died of the virus, with seven coronavirus-related deaths on Friday.
The latest reproduction rate, which measures the disease's ability to spread, was 1.08, up from 0.93 on Thursday, meaning that on average an infected person passes the virus to roughly one other person.
The German government has repeatedly emphasized that the reproduction rate must remain below 1 for the outbreak to gradually subside.
The latest seven-day R-value, which is less subject to daily fluctuations, was recorded at 1.16, up from 1.05.
Germany's coronavirus recovery rate is also one of the best in the world; an estimated 189,800 people had recovered from the virus by Saturday morning.
Returning travelers, large celebrations
More than 60% of the new cases are due to an uptick in infections in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia and in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, according to RKI.
Health officials say that new COVID-19 clusters have been traced to larger celebrations, leisure activities and places of work, or from visits to community and health facilities. The increasing number of cases is also being traced to returning travelers.